By Patrick Edward Musisi, Mukono

Mukono Resident District Commissioner Haji Nasser Munuulo has launched a campaign code-named ‘Fame And Shame’, geared at exposing people in any way associated with the rampant animal theft, and ensuring that they are taken to courts and their prosecution brought to a conclusive end.

This follows reports of incessant cattle thefts at night, with thieves slaughtering an skinning the animals in bushes and transporting the meat to butcheries in and around Mukono, and as far away as Kampala.

The campaign is being implemented jointly by police and the UPDF, with the RDC’s office overseeing the operations.

Munuulo disclosed this on Friday at Naggalama police division headquarters, where three culprits arrested in the act the previous night were being paraded before the media. They included Saverino Bazumpola aged 19, Gerard Ndase aged 24 both residents of Kalagi trading centre, and Umaru bwagu, 25 of Kito Nabbaale village.

The trio, led by suspect number two Gerard Ndase who used to work at the farm where they stole the animals, between 7.00 pm and 2.00 am, went to Lucy Farm at Kito village in Nabbaale sub-county, tied up two cows and took them to a bush where they were to meet the buyers.

Naggalama police was tipped whereupon the District Police Commander (DPC)  Jesca Naawe planted her officers who posed as buyers and together with armed cops, laid an ambush in the bush. As the thieves were bargaining with the ‘buyers’, they were arrested with one of the cows. The second one had overpowered them and ran back to the farm.

RDC Munuulo said that they hatched the idea of the campaign on realizing that thieves are usually children of the area with residents fearing to pin them, which he said has led to incidents of mob justice. “To avoid confrontation with their parents, the suspects are immediately killed which in turn denies justice to take its course”, he said.He advised local leaders against executing out-of-court settlements, saying this denies the deterrent action of court processes.

The DPC said the racket of cattle thieves is a big one, and swore to round up all of them given co-operation from the community.

And the District Senior Veterinary Officer Dr. David Kiryabwire said it is illegal to transport animals and meat at night, and called on locals to be vigilante and seek through explanation from boda boda meat transporters with meat not bearing inspectors’ stamps.